A comparison of the beat competency and rhythm pattern imitation of high school instrumental music students and high school dance students
DeQuattro, Anthony Frank
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Leading music educators, such as Dalcroze, Orff, Kodály, and Gordon, enthusiastically support the use of movement in the teaching of rhythm. This endorsement, coupled with the number and variety of studies that have examined movement and its impact on music learning, reflects the importance music educators and researchers have placed on movement's pedagogical possibilities. If movement is important in achieving rhythmic competency then it follows that students who participate in dance should possess rhythmic skills that equal or exceed those of music students. In order to examine the impact of movement, this study compared dance training and music training in the development of the rhythmic abilities of beat competency and rhythm pattern imitation. Secondary purposes were to determine the impact of the amount of instrumental music instruction, the amount of dance instruction, the type of instrument studied, or the style of dance studied. For this study, a causal-comparative design was employed. Participants (N = 84) were drawn from four arts magnet high schools and one traditional public school in Connecticut and were stratified into groups defined as music students and dance students. The beat competency and rhythm pattern imitation skills of each subject were then measured using the Rhythm Performance Test-Revised, a computer-generated test, and results for each group were compared. Results indicated a statistically significant difference in favor of the music students on both the beat competency and rhythm pattern imitation measures. Further investigations indicated a statistically significant, negative relationship between the amount of dance training received and scores on the rhythm pattern imitation measure among the dance students. The percussion students scored statistically significantly better than all other music students on the beat competency measure. The study gives us initial insights into how music and dance pedagogical approaches work independently of each other. Whereas past studies have suggested that rhythmic movement may positively impact rhythmic ability when added to methods of rhythm pedagogy, this study suggests that rhythmic movement cannot replace the direct instruction of rhythm in a musical context.
Thesis (D.M.A.)--Boston University